The Impact Of Norse Mythology

Norse mythology, which originated in Scandinavia, consists of a system of gods and beliefs adapted by the Scandinavian people before they were exposed to Christianity. Scandinavians living in Iceland also worshipped the Norse gods, and most of our written records of Norse mythology come from Iceland.

Norse mythology is rooted in the beliefs and stories that were once told by Northern Germanic tribes. The Scandinavian people adopted these beliefs and gods as their own. Scandinavian mythology was mostly spread through oral poetry, leaving only a limited written record of the early beliefs.

Scandinavian folklore has been deeply influenced by Norse mythology, which is partly what has allowed Norse mythology to survive into today ‘s society. The Scandinavian belief in Norse gods eventually came to an end in the 12th century. After a long struggle with the Christian clergy, starting in the eighth century, the Scandinavian people gave in to the new religion and relinquished belief in the Norse gods.

Norse Gods

Norse mythology has no one set of beliefs. Scandinavian mythology was mostly told orally, so the accuracy of the written records is difficult to discern. The written records tell of supernatural beings, the beginning and end of the world and human sacrifice.

In Scandinavian mythology, most of the gods are interrelated as a family. Each god has his or her own domain to protect and control. For example, Bragi is the god of poetry and elegance. He is the son of Odin (god of poetry, battle and death) and the husband of Idun (guardian of the golden apples).

The written records of Norse mythology tell the epic stories of kings who founded kingdoms, defeated enemies and became heroes. Some of these kings are believed to have actually been living Scandinavians, possibly making the stories partially based in historical fact. The Norse gods are portrayed as powerful supernatural beings that are often in conflict with one another.

When Norse mythology was phased out by the onset of Christianity, the gods, heroes and stories were still brought to life through Scandinavian folklore.

The Impact of Norse Mythology

When Norse mythology was finally recorded in writing during the 16th century, it had a major impact on society. Norse literature was said to inspire Sweden to overtake Finland. The great and brave historical stories of the Scandinavian people motivated those in battle to fight for the honor of their country.

Although Norse mythology ceased to be the primary religious belief in Scandinavia and Iceland after the onset of Christianity, Norse mythological influences can still be seen in today’s society. Many of the names of mythological creatures and Norse gods are used in modern television shows and novels. These include:

  • dragons
  • dwarves
  • elves
  • trolls.

The creatures that were used in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore have also been used as characters in entertainment and arts in modern society. The influence of Norse mythology can also often be seen in plotlines for battle scenes in popular films and literature.

JRR Tolkien’s popular “Lord of the Rings ” series also has a basis in Norse mythology, which has popularized many of the above terms.